orange tomatoes

Tomato (solanum lycopersicum) is a common fruit vegetables cultivated all over the world. It is has an oval-spherical shape, depending on it varieties, with colors ranging from blood red to sunset orange.

Tomatoes are fruits with soft and edible epicarp, with juicy endocarp embedded with small yellow tiny seeds. Tomatoes are great constituent of every nations table around the world. Its culinary uses cannot be replaced with an alternative, as it alone serves it sole purpose. They are rich in vitamin C, potassium and are a good source of antioxidants (they help detoxify poisons and toxins in our body). Tomatoes are mostly processed mainly in form of paste or puree, packaged in tins, jars and nylons. They are used as spread, in salad dressings, ketchups, preparing meats and seafood cookery, in pasta, noodles, an accompaniment to boiled potatoes, also egg sauces, even in confectionaries, in African cuisine e.g rice cookery as in jollof rice, rice and stew, soups as in a native Yoruba soup, eforiwo, yam and tomato sauce.  They serve numerous purposes that a kitchen is not complete without tomatoes. They can also be eaten whole as a fruit.

Tomatoes are a very much loved fruity vegetables, despite it numerous appealing applications and uses, if we don’t care for it properly, it can lead to it spoilage and then wastage. Tomato shelf life will barely last more than a week after it had ripen. Even the farmers find it hard with the economic loss in transporting harvested tomatoes as almost half of the product loses it rigidity and burst open or spoil due to it fragile nature and other environmental factors. Thus we may have to keep buying tomatoes daily or weekly to get the best and fresh ones.

We realize that we can’t store tomatoes, like pepper in which we could dry or onions which now has been processed in a form that can be stored over months in dry mass, and collected when needed.

Tomatoes cannot be available all year round at the same cheap price, how do we suffice for hike in prices. Also tomato paste or puree manufactured in tin, jars or sachet are excellent alternatives but may not be the best natural source as chemicals such as preservatives, food colorings, sugar has been added to increase economic yield.

If we harvest much of tomatoes from our farm, how can we escape the fear of not getting enough buyers on time before it lost to spoilage? How do we preserve left over tomatoes in the counter, how can we preserve this delicate delicious for the future?

One of such ways is the way we handle it. Below are few ways that can help preserving the fruit for a longer period;

1.    Tomatos fruit fresh can be delicate and can easily spoil, soaking them in saline water for an hour or a little more can help harden the epicarp(outer layer of a fruit).

2.    Tomato fruits are not heat friendly as high moisture and temperature can easily lead to their deterioration. Removing heat by reducing the temperature can help preserve it shelf life, storing them in a refrigerator could compliment. Combining the immersion in saline water and storing in a place of low temperature can help to increase it shelf life even better.

3.    Good ventilation is necessary for preserving the shelf life of tomatoes, avoid storing them in leather bags or sacs, piling them together should be avoided, using baskets is profitable but not the best, we can alternatively use tray method of preservation. Tray methods enable you to spread them each to a volume of space to enable proper ventilation. Tomatoes should never be closed also, but left open always.


Tomatoes can also last for up to 9-10 months, but not as a whole fruit but a processed form. A locally processed form, free of artificial chemicals, coloring and flavor can be an option. A method we can try at home, an alternative to throwing away broken tomatoes, an alternative to buying tomato paste from the market, a natural recipe.

This recipe preserves the tomatoes for a long period of times, in season and out of season of tomatoes. To prepare these natural home processed tomatoes, to prevent wastage or buying a costlier artificial induced alternative, you will need to follow these simple steps.

Preserving your tomatoes naturally for 9-10 months, you will need them to be in puree. The followings are the materials you will need.


Materials and ingredients

(1)Fresh ripe tomatoes (2) glass jars transparent with it lids (alternatively jam bottle or mayonnaise bottle) (3) transparent cellophane bags or nylon (4) olive or palm olein oil (5) blender (6) a big pot, or a boiling machine (7) a cooking pot (8) scoop spoon  (9) water (10)heat source.

Preparation of materials

(1)Wash the glass jars and if possible sterilize in boiling hot water

(2) Thorough washing of the tomatoes in saline water and then warm water is mandatory

(3) Wash utensils very well, the pots, the blender and the scoop spoon in clean water.


(1) Ensure your hands are clean by washing them with soap in running water, also ensure your working space is neat and free from germs

(2)Add the washed tomatoes into the blender and blend to puree, very smooth ensuring a uniform texture (they are of the same consistency or smoothness)

(3)In a clean cooking pot add the blended tomato puree and fix on your heat source

(4)Heat your tomato puree until all the water available is dried up by the heat source and allow it to cool. Ensure that the pot lid is still covered

(5)Gather your bottles, clean and free from germs and keep them close by

(6)Get your scoop spoon, cellophane bag, and olive oil, alternatively a good groundnut oil close by too

(7)Wash your hand again in clean running water

(8)As you open each jar, scoop spoon full of the cooked tomato puree and fill into the jar till almost the brim

(9)2-3cm before the brim, should be the length of space left in filling the jars with the puree

(10)       Add the oil into the space left to reach almost the brim, covering the face of the puree completely

(11)       After wards, cover the mouth of the jar with the cellophane bag, ensuring you cut the cellophane bag to fit with the size of the jar lid

(12)       Cover the jar with the cellophane bag to fit and then the jar lid or its cover

(13)       Ensure it is tightly covered, very tight

(14)       Follow similar steps for the remaining the remaining bottles, depending on much how you want to store

(15)       Clean the bottles, even in running waters and transfer to a boiling machine

(16)       In the absence of boiling machine, we can use a big pot with water filled unto half the height of the jar

(17)       Cover the pot and allow the water to boil for several minutes with the jars in them

(18)       45 minutes to an hour of boiling water to serve better at a minimum

(19)       Bring pot down from heat source or switch boiler off and allow to cool

(20)       When the jars have cooled, carefully transfer them to a carton arranged properly, do not stack on over another

(21)       Store carton in a cool, dry dark place

(22)       Your tomatoes are ready to be preserved for 9 to even 12 months depending on how you prepared it ensuring a hygienic environment.



If you want to collect stored or preserved paste in a jar, ensure you use at once, avoid taking from jar and re-storing it again, it will lead to spoilage and poor taste.


In conclusion, we can always find natural alternative for a healthier meal, a less costly way to preserve even that which we think are perishable. We may not have to worry much about the excess tomato fruits on the counter or the fridge. We can have them being used all year round even in moments of scarcity in and out of season. We can cope with the scarcity of tomatoes, if we follow the right approach in managing this beautiful nutritious succulent fruit that nature gifted to us.  



Ibeto Chidera Innocent

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About Author

A graduate of biochemistry from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka